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Speed Archery

Updated on September 11, 2014
CuAllaidh profile image

Jeff Johnston is a medieval reenactor and avid history fan. He is also the publisher at Living History Publications.


Shoot Faster

Speed shooting in archery is not often considered overly important. But in some cases shooting fast is advantageous, and in fact there are many competitions in which speed is a factor. Learning to shoot fast can also improve your over all archery skills.

Recently I discovered a video by Lars Andersen demonstrating some ridiculously impressive speed shooting. I am experimenting in reproducing his technique and will keep track of my record on this page. Come back often to learn more.

Image courtesy of, image by zsbenko

The Archery Oddity that is Lars Andersen

Lars Andersen has managed to shoot so fast he can have 11 arrows in the air before the first arrow shot hits the ground. This is a feat that traditional bow masters have declared impossible. He managed the impossible by studying medieval manuscripts and artwork and devised a technique that is all his own.

The videos below are worth watching, but I feel I should note the audio and text is generally terrible, remember this is not a native English speaker.

Arab Archery is one of the sources Lars used to create his technique. It is an excellent source for historic archery techniques and methods.

My Attempts to Reproduce the Technique

I have begun experimentation in reproducing Lars' speed archery techniques in order to improve my archery skills. A big part of my motivation for doing so is the SCA, the historical re-enactors group I belong to. The SCA in my area does a lot of combat archery, which means in our battles we use archers with blunted arrows firing on the enemy. I figure if I can become even half as good as Lars then I can rain down a hail of arrows on the enemy, which of course would be a blast.

Jul 13 2013

First Attempt

The first speed archery, Lars Andersen style test went fairly well, as expected accuracy was a joke, Although my line was not bad range was a problem and pretty much all over the map. For my first attempt I was only ever holding two arrows in my hand at a time, the plan is to work with only two until I am decent with two and slowly step up till I can hold a fair number in my hand at once.

I was fast enough to impress the others at archery practice, but still quite awkward. Improved with every round though, so that's promising. Did have one misfire and once accidentally shot two arrows at once, but those were the only real issue.

Definitely worth experimenting further.

Mongolian Bow Draw Method
Mongolian Bow Draw Method | Source

My Thoughts on Draw Method

Would the Mongolian Draw Work Best?

I got to thinking about methods of drawing the bow. Normally I use the traditional three finger Mediterranean draw, and it serves me well. However I am wondering if perhaps for speed archery if the thumb gripped Mongolian draw might serve me better for these purposes. This would enable me to still hold the arrows in my hand yet draw with only my thumb, allowing my fingers to focus solely on the task of getting the next arrow ready to shoot. The Mongolian Draw might enable me to improve my speed and power during speed shooting.

Next time I get a chance to shoot I will try to get a video demonstrating this technique and I shall see if it blends well with Lars' quick shooting method.

August 22nd 2013

Second Attempt

I had considerable difficulty with the Mongolian grip, I was unable to garner much success using it. I am not willing to give up on the method as of yet, but it will require much more experimentation.

I had planned on making a video of my attempts but given the epic failure of the attempts I didn't bother.


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    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      @peterb6001: Not sure how effective it would be with a bow that would be useful for hunting. Most people use weaker bows, but with training I would imagine you could get to the point where hunting like this would work.

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 4 years ago from England

      Never heard of this before. Have a friend who hunts with a bow and arrow, will show him this, may come in handy :)

    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      @ChristyZ: Thanks,

      Fast shooting like that is a real tricky skill to learn, I'd like to be even half as good as those folks, hopefully soon I'll have a video up of some of my progress.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      Wow, this is so cool. Great video clips, I didn't know people could shoot arrows that fast! Good luck with your future speed archery practices!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Archery's a great sport. The speed part looks really fun! (Congratulations on purple!)